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tv   NBC Nightly News  NBC  October 25, 2013 5:30pm-6:01pm PDT

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monday and tuesday get the jackets back out. we'll see you at 6:00. good night. breach of trust. the growing uproar over these allegations the u.s. tapped the phones of dozens of world leaders. and tonight the damage control. we can hear you. what happened when a former u.s. spy chief was talking way too loud on his cell phone and a fellow train passenger just couldn't help himself and shared it with the world? an alert regarding petood and thousands of deaths. now after so many animals have gotten sick, the feds are cracking down on the pet food makers. and mystery solved. ringo asked for help to find the kids in this photo he took in the '60s. tonight we know who they are. we hear about that amazing chance encounter with the beatles' motorcade back in the day. "nightly news" begins now.
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good evening. the u.s. tonight is dealing with the fallout from apparently listening in on much of the world. this week it was the german chancellor angela merkel on the phone with president obama angry at reports that her cell phone had been listened in to by the u.s. spy agency. she was just the latest foreign leader in recent days to learn of it. then came the report of the guardian newspaper that the u.s. has monitored communications of 35 world leaders in all. all of this comes from the files that edward snowden made off with after his job as a u.s. intelligence analyst. all of it is making for big problems around the world for this administration. so we begin tonight with our political director chief white house correspondent chuck todd. chuck, good evening. >> reporter: good evening, brian. ever since snowden had been letting the world know that the u.s. has been spying on allies all over the world, the obama
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administration has been in diplomatic damage control mode. this revelation, the tapping of merkel's cell phone is causing the biggest riff yet with some of america's closest friends. the sight of slighted american allies, germany's angela merkel and france's francois hollande. together today fuming over new spying allegations including the tapping of merkel's cell phone. trust needs to be rebuilt, merkel said. that implies that trust has been severely shaken. earlier this week, the president called merkel to apologize. >> the president said we are not going to do this going forward. >> reporter: but it may have been done in the past? >> well, look, we don't want to get into the business of inventorying everything we have done on the intelligence side in the past. >> reporter: the latest nsa revelation has become late night fodder. >> my impression of how the phone call went. hey, how are you, angela? what do you mean? you know how i am. >> reporter: but the europeans they aren't laughing. we need to put an end to it, said the french president. the u.s. already has a no spying agreement with canada, australia, new zealand, and britain.
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ben rhoads one of the president's top national security advisers says the u.s. might be open to similar agreements with other allies. >> we are already in diplomatic and intelligence channels talking to the germans, french, other european partners, countries around the world -- brazil and mexico as well. i think we're going to have to have a series of bilateral discussions with these countries and look at multilateral discussions as well. >> reporter: for the intelligence community, this type of surveillance on allies is vital. >> in terms of us understanding what german institutions are doing and thinking, that's a critical u.s. national security interest. >> reporter: this incident with germany, just the latest in a series of internationally embarrassing revelations that have all come from the stolen files of edward snowden causing diplomatic problems around the world. is the president upset about the revelations or the tactics? >> well, i think he's upset about the way in which the
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information was revealed. it put our security at risk, our intelligence collection at risk. on tactics it's not a matter of being upset as much as a matter of wanting to make sure we get the right balance. >> reporter: whether this is a coincidence or depending upon your point of view karma the nsa website is down tonight apparently hacked. all nsa folks will say is they are looking into it. >> chuck todd starting us off from the white house tonight. chuck, thanks. those interested in how spying works might begin by riding on the amtrak high speed train between new york and washington. there is often a prominent passenger or two on board. there are often people talking too loudly on cell phones. yesterday they were one and the same. michael hayden used to run the cia and the nsa spy agency was the guy talking loudly enough on his cell phone and dropping names like the president's to be heard by those around him including a man who told the world about what he was hearing from a few rows behind him. our report tonight from nbc's stephanie gosk. >> i just ran into him on the
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train. >> reporter: everyone who uses a cell phone in public needs to know something. you are louder than you think you are. >> that's exactly it. >> reporter: unfortunately for former nsa director michael hayden that realization came a train ride too late. on amtrak thursday hayden had several phone conversations with journalists, forgetting his library voice. fellow traveller tom mattzie was a few rows up. when you realized who it was what was your reaction? >> i said, oh, my god. i can't believe he's saying these thinks on the telephone on the train. >> reporter: and loud. >> and loud. >> reporter: a former move activist took to twitter. former nsa spy boss michael hayden on acela behind me blabbing on background as a former senior administration official. sounds defensive. >> he was talking about rendition and black sight and i was like, this guy was the head of the cia. >> reporter: he tweeted again. michael hayden giving reporters disparaging quotes about administration.
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in a statement hayden said he wasn't criticizing, just providing robust political guidance. was he revealing any real secrets in your opinion? >> no. i never said he's revealing national security secrets. he was gossiping. that's what i was tweeting about. >> reporter: hayden's cell phone rang and mattzie tweeted, on acela, phone is ringing. i think the jig is up. maybe somebody is telling him i'm here. do i hide? he didn't hide. in fact, hayden introduced himself. they snapped this harmonious-looking photo. in the process teaching everyone a valuable lesson. next time on a train, take the quiet car. stephanie gosk, nbc news, new york. now to that health alert we mentioned at the top of the broadcast. this is about pets and the foods we pet owners give them. people may be surprised to learn there are no laws governing how pet food and feed for farm animals, for that matter, are
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manufactured. but that could soon change. our report from nbc's ron mott. >> reporter: in california just hours after feeding her three dogs jerky treats, rachel chambers watched them turn severely ill. one of them died. >> it was violent. she did not deserve the way that she died. >> reporter: put owners across the country have experienced the same thing. nearly 600 pet deaths, thousands sickened. >> snooki got so sick her heart even seemed to stop. >> reporter: today the fda is proposing for the first time producers of pet food and animal feed follow basic safety guidelines, rules similar to standards required for human food. >> overall the pet food supply in this country is sound, safe. we know hazards can occur if we are not careful. if we're not preventative. >> reporter: there are piles of food and treat options for pet owners to consider in this $20 billion industry produced domestically and overseas. many illnesses have been linked
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to jerky treats made in china, experts advise pet owners to vigilant on what they're buying. >> stick to foods you trust and know where they are coming from. >> reporter: dr. gallagher applauds the move by the fda. >> the human health issue and an animal health issue. if a dog is exposed to salmonella from their food, then that dog's family is exposed to salmonella. >> reporter: last year a salmonella outbreak at a south carolina plant forced a recall of 30,000 tons of dry pet food. >> news about the big scare over pet food -- >> reporter: in 2007 a larger recall, again involving china and melomine used in plastics. still while the fda has yet to pinpoint a specific cause of the recent illnesses, the government is now turning its focus to prevention to make every pet meal and treat a safe one. ron mott, nbc news, chicago. there is news again tonight on this effort to fix the website for the president's new health care law. today the government handed oversight of the troubled
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and mammoth project to a private company and even named a date by which the website should be running smoothly. nbc's tom costello on the story for us again tonight. he's in our d.c. newsroom. good evening. >> hi, brian. the administration is now saying it will take until november 30th before the website is operating as it should. it insists the problems aren't fatal and it is making a big promise. under intense pressure to get up and running without glitches and hiccups, the administration today came out with a bold declaration. >> the website is fixable and functional. >> reporter: the man in charge of getting it fixed went further in a teleconference with reporters. >> by the end of november, will work smoothly for the vast majority of users. >> reporter: the end of november is just five weeks away. december 15 is the deadline for people to sign up if they want insurance on january 1.
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the government is also handing over project control to a private contractor, qssi, one of the builders of the troubled website. >> i could still refer them to this number over the phone. >> reporter: at this clinic in new jersey this week, frustration with the whole process. >> we tried the first day. didn't work. tried another time. it crashed. just now trying to get health care coverage for the third or fourth time. nothing. so it's been very frustrating. >> reporter: the government says roughly 700,000 people have submitted applications but admitted that at times just 30% of users have been able to complete an application. it isn't saying how many people have been able to enroll in an actual insurance plan. this is your application. >> correct. every time i come to my application, it says it's incomplete. >> reporter: database and software programmer luke chung is skeptical the site can be fixed by november 30. >> it's difficult to take over somebody else's code, figure out what is wrong with it and fix it.
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sometimes you have to throw it away and start from scratch. >> reporter: jim johnson who conducts research into i.t. project failures believes a small focused team can save the website. >> what really has to happen is somebody has to go in with a scalpel and take out a lot of code. because it's probably faulty. so i think that's the challenge. >> reporter: today secretary sebelius said she had been surprised by the website failures. next week she'll be testifying on capitol hill where she's expected to underdo very tough questioning, especially from house republicans, many of whom don't like obama care to begin with. brian? >> what a mess in washington. tom costello in the d.c. newsroom tonight. tom, thanks. good news for viewers on the west coast. at long last just tonight the california wildfire known as the rim fire has been declared fully contained. this one burned for over two months. our l.a.-based correspondent miguel almaguer reported the good news to us tonight.
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this is the fire that burned 400 square miles in and around yosemite at one point charring up to 50,000 acres a day. fire officials it started when a hunter's campfire spread. in all this fire cost $127 million to fight. still ahead for us tonight on a friday evening, olympic dreams. about a hundred days until the games begin. the women of the u.s. team, including gold medalist lindsey vonn are in the midst of a incredible comeback. and later, the ringo mystery solved. he asked for help to find these folks. now some of the young faces in the photo have come forward for a trip down memory lane.
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let's turn our attention outside for a moment as we are just about a hundred days away from the winter olympics in sochi in russia. among the u.s. olympic hopefuls who have been training for the games year round, the women of the u.s. alpine ski team. some of them, including lindsey vonn, working their way back
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from some devastating injuries. chris jansing tonight on sports and sisterhood in the andes mountains. >> reporter: high in the chilean andes the women of the u.s. alpine team are chasing the snow. the breathtaking beauty can't disguise some of the most challenging mountains anywhere. even for three-time olympic medalist julia mancuso. >> morning! >> reporter: it's here lindsey vonn is hitting the slopes for the first time after a devastating knee injury in february at the world championships. >> she's down heavily. >> i'm really happy to be back. >> reporter: lauren roth is fighting back, too. a brutal crash at 75 miles per hour scarred her face and psyche nearly two years ago. now she's got her sights set on making her first olympic team. >> it's hard to come back from such a mind boggling crash. i couldn't imagine doing anything else right now.
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>> reporter: lee anne smith is wearing a shoulder brace under that racing suit. >> all the way up. >> reporter: skiing through her recovery from a dislocated shoulder. no one else can truly understand the painful struggle of overcoming devastating injuries. >> this has been the hardest i have fallen in my career. i'm back up and working forward. >> reporter: in the close quarters of a remote hotel, even as they gear up to compete against each other for a few spots on the olympic team, they have built bonds over two weeks of living, eating and sleeping beside the women they desperately want to beat. >> right when you come through the finish it changes. it's back to friendship. >> this is the best group we have had since i have been on the team. >> reporter: after a long morning of training there is a lively laughter inducing game of volleyball. ♪ >> reporter: and relaxation over a song.
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>> i have never had sisters. these girls are literally what a sister would be, i think, if i had that experience growing up. >> reporter: alpine racing is a solitary sport. together as a team these women are ready to take on sochi. chris jansing, nbc news, new york. back inside as we continue on a friday night. why mcdonald's may be squeezing out a very popular brand of ketchup.
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a lot of stories to bring to your attention tonight. this one is going to get a lot of attention. the u.s. air force academy in colorado springs decided to make the words "so help me god" at the end of the cadet honor code optional, not mandatory. in a statement they said they are trying to build a culture of dignity and respect and include all beliefs including nonbelievers. well, the airlines know the rules and under the new rules for passenger rights, when you leave passengers stranded on the tarmac for over three hours you have to pay.
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now united airlines has been hit with over $1 million in fines because it happened on their aircraft 13 times last year at chicago o'hare. it's the largest fine of its kind in three years. as we mentioned, mcdonald's is parting ways with heinz ketchup. it says, quote, as a result of recent management changes at heinz. the buzz in the competitive world of fast food is this because heinz hired the former head of burger king as the new ceo. because all is fair in love and war in the hamburger business, if you're mcdonald's you've got to know the enemy. a nasa satellite noticed something well off the shore of south america. at night it looked like the cape and islands off new england but there is no land mass out there, no oil or gas wells 300 miles off the coast of argentina. the answer it turns out, deep water shrimp boats working at night in clusters. they use extremely high-powered lighting to make their catch rise to the surface.
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speaking of light, a small norwegian valley is enjoying the gift of light thanks to mirrors placed on the surrounding mountainside. the town has always been dark during the winter. it can lead to seasonal effective disorder which not for nothing is known as s.a.d. at least they have some bright spots now to go around and stand around in. also in europe, say it ain't so, but the scourge of performance-enhancing drugs now extends to pigeon racing. there is a report in belgium of a doping scandal saying competitive pigeon owners drugged birds with trace amounts of cocaine and painkillers. as one journalist put it, is there no honor? a top bird on the racing circuit recently sold for $430,000. while we will not allow any criticism of james taylor on this broadcast, what do you do when a national treasure appears
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to flub the start of the national anthem? we take you to fenway park at the start of last night's world series game. ♪ ♪ o beautiful ♪ o say can you see >> well, two first verses? it's all the same thing, really. love for your country from a guy who offered a lot of musical healing, let's remember, from stockbridge to boston and beyond. when we come back after a break, the story behind the photo that a former beatle has been wondering about all these years.
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finally tonight, you may recall a few days back, ringo -- as in the ringo -- asked for our help in finding the kids in a photograph he took during the beatles' first visit to the u.s. he thought it might have been in miami. he admitted his memory from back in the day is fuzzy. long story short, we now know who the kids are. some of us are kicking ourselves because we thought they looked like jersey kids and we were right. our report tonight on the mystery solved from nbc's anne thompson. >> reporter: 49 years later this snapshot is proof of a day in
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the life of gary van dorsen few believed. >> we cut school, went out there, saw the beatles, talked to ringo. >> reporter: nobody believed you when you came back and told them the story? >> nobody. it was ridiculously unbelievable. >> reporter: until this week when the photographer, ringo starr himself, kicked off a search for the six mystery fans. the picture is in a book of stars' photographs he talked about this summer. >> how great is this? this is a crowded car. how great that i thought, oh, i'm going to shoot that? >> reporter: it was taken after the beatles sped away from kennedy airport on february 7, 1964, after a frenzied arrival. marking the beginning of music's british invasion. >> what do you think your music does for these people? >> uh, hmm -- >> pleases them, i think. >> reporter: not much older than their fans, the beatles at times acted like tourists on their
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first trip to the u.s. ringo was the unofficial photographer capturing a memory for van dorsen and his friends >> sue, arlene. >> reporter: you all kind of look like you can't believe what you're seeing. >> i think we couldn't believe we were talking to him. >> reporter: some memories of the day are hazy. van dorsen just recalls ringo. arlene says all four beatles were in the car. >> one of them said, hello, love, where are you from? we said, you know, fairlawn new jersey. i had no idea ringo took a picture. >> reporter: neither did van dorsen. "life" magazine said van dorsen almost lost control of the car. >> i never lost control of the car. >> reporter: now retired in connecticut, he says he'd love to meet ringo for coffee and talk. >> i remember that but to find out ringo remembers that is even more amazing. >> reporter: suddenly yesterday doesn't seem so far away. anne thompson, nbc news, essex, connecticut. >> great story to end on for a
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friday night and for this week. thank you for being here with us. i'm brian williams. lester holt will be here with you this weekend. we, of course, hope to see you right back here on monday night. in the meantime, have a good weekend. good night. good evening, thanks for joining us this friday. i'm janelle wang in for raj matthai. >> i'm jessica aguirre. a husband and wife are dead, three children left orphans and suspect in jail. they walked their little dog. tonight, though, we're learning the woman police was the at the wheel is a convicted drunk driver. nbc bay area's stephanie chuang is live in menlo park where the crash happened and you're
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hearing from the suspect's friends. >> reporter: that's right, jessica. good evening. they're very surprised. they describe her as a family woman and cannot believe their friend could be responsible for killing two people. or that she was accused before of driving drunk. but that is exactly what menlo park police say happened here last night. with a couple walking in the bike lane this direction on a routine nightly walk. see the balloons marking a small memorial growing here on the street. friends of suspect, though, say it's not just one family in mourning. there are two. >> my big brother. he was so nice. and look at the -- and they left. i just can't believe it. can't believe it. >> reporter: disbelief paralyzed this family struggling to come to grips that babal singh and kaur both in their 50s are gone, leaving behind teenage kids. >> shocked at